In my first novel, All My Hopes and Dreams (published in 2007 and still available), I wrote a secondary character named Starr Hidalgo. Starr's family owned the ranch next to the Romero family ranch, run by Ricardo Romero, the son and hero of my novel. Ricardo impulsively married a girl from East Texas named Cynthia Harrington, and since she was not from Spanish descent, she did not fit in.
But Starr did, and she did everything she could to break up Ricardo's marriage. She set her sights on him, and joined forces with Ricardo's mother to devise all kinds of ways to run off Cynthia.
Readers told me Starr Hidalgo would have been a better choice for Ricardo, and perhaps so. But Starr was a walk-on, someone I used to stir up trouble. How did I write Cynthia, so, that in the end, she would equal Starr's passion and pure grit? It wasn't easy, but Cynthia learned many lessons, and yes, she did stand up to Starr, her evil mother-in-law, and even her husband.But Starr almost stole the show.
Writing a good secondary character can be tricky. You don't want her/him to steal the scene--or ruin an entire story.
What is strange about this scene, is that the adopted son becomes the hero of the movie, and John Wayne is forced to leave. The drive is successful, but the adopted son and father meet up once again in a bitter argument and fight.
I have never understood why the writer of the story allowed the son to be the hero, forcing his father--John Wayne--to step aside. In my opinion, this is a case of Scene Stealing. The secondary character became the hero.
In Gone With the Wind, Prissy steals the scene when Scarlet yells at her to help with the birthing of a baby. Prissy whines, wrings her hands, and cries, "But I don' know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies!" Who could forget that great scene, and Prissy completely stole it from Scarlet.
Many actresses and actors have become known because of stealing a scene from the lead.
I Googled "Scene Stealers" and found a large number of examples. It's fun to read who and how the person stole the scene.
Last night, I watched Splendor in the Grass for about the sixth time. Each time I've watched it, I noticed scenes I didn't remember before. The movie is actually kind of messy, in that too much happened in some of the scenes--too many characters, too much yelling and incessant talking, and the same characters whining. I also noticed more violence than I ever had before.
However, the fact is that no one, not one character in any scene stole it from Natalie Wood. She almost stood out with a glow around her. In the midst of some huge rumbling scene, those big
brown eyes and her unique presence always came through. She might as well have been carrying a big sign that read, "I am the star and don't you forget it."
She was very special, in my opinion.
No one could steal her scene.
In my current Work in Progress, TEXAS DREAMER, I wrote in a character named Conrad Taylor. Oh, wow, I wrote him so well he stole the show and the heroine for a few pages. I knew this could not happen, so I quickly took him off the page by sending him back to his own job. No one talked about or thought about Conrad. But later in the novel, he does reappear--is he really the villain? Or will he turn out to be a good guy, perhaps a hero of his own?
Will he be a scene stealer after all?
I really hope not. But now that I've written a very good character, probably he'll have his own story someday.
Scene Stealers. Do you remember one in a movie? There were actually quite a few.
Do you remember writing one in a novel?
Is a Scene Stealer memorable?